People often talk about how Mohanlal the actor was bogged down by larger than life roles since the dawn of the millennium for most parts but little has been said about the fate of the third superstar of Malayalam industry, Suresh Gopi. The actor was restricted to a spectrum of characters that always ranged somewhere between his iconic cop from Commissioner and the quintessential Achayan of Lelam, thanks to a slew of unimaginative filmmakers. The only time one got to see him in a different avatar was in Randam Bhavam and that film bombed at the box office. Then he got to a point where the audience had the impression that he himself had lost interest in his career as an actor and was focused more on other pursuits in the sphere of public life. Being the only actor to ever truly come out of the shadows of the big Ms of Malayalam and to make a mark of his own, you always looked forward to news of his return and the trailer of Varane Avashyamundu looked promising for more reasons than one. I can’t think of a Sathyan Anthikad- Sureshgopi film off the top of my head and I’m going to risk courting an accusation of ignorance when I say that Anoop Sathyan has done what his dad never did in his illustrious career, with his debut film. He also managed a casting coup of sorts by pairing Sureshgopi and Shobhana along with Dulqer Salman and Kalyani Priyadarshan. Maybe Karan Johar could remake this with all the star kids he knows and all the stars he hangs out with, at least Anoop Sathyan spares us the nausea.
The film took to a sputtering start, at least for me and for a minute I felt that Anoop Sathyan was doing the Malayalam version of English Vinglish. The props were in place and looked like “inspiration”, the favorite sentiment amongst our crop of filmmakers these days. The scenes with Dulqer and KPAC Lalitha early on didn’t help either. Maybe I was just too eager to see Suresh Gopi and Shobhana running into each other. They do eventually and that’s when the film starts rolling into your hearts. Anoop Sathyan is indeed his father’s son when it comes to filmmaking considering the themes he tries to explore here. Sathyan Anthikad films of the past couple of decades have been templates mostly. You have a wayward inconsiderate character or characters who encounter someone who has had a traumatic experience in life which almost always involves a parent and is eventually transformed into a better person. Throw in couple of jokes and tearjerker scenes and there, you have it. This one’s no different but the writer-director has tried to imbibe factors that cater to the sensibilities of the progressive crowd out there. The lifeline of the film is indeed the on screen chemistry of the lead pair. The Shobhana- Sureshgopi pair have been defined by two films if you ask me, Innale and Manichithrathazhu . And when you are watching Varane Avashyamundu, Anoop Sathyan is relying heavily on your subconscious to invoke your memories of those roles and scenes. He even goes the extra mile and crams in the Gange! line. The film is unconvincing and cliched when it explores the dynamics of the relationship between the characters played by Dulqer and Kalyani. Urvashi plays a character that’s indeed different from the kind of mothers that we have come to see in Malayalam films.But in the end, it is indeed a feel good film that’s easy on your eyes, ears and mind.
The greatest revelation in Varane Avashyamundu is Johnny Antony. He simply excels here with his timing and performance. I would recommend the film just for his scenes with Suresh Gopi. Lalu Alex helps with the nostalgia factor again and is as endearing as ever. Suresh Gopi reaches back into his pre – Thalasthanam days to deliver a fine subdued performance. Shobhana is elegant and restrained though one wished it wasn’t Bhagyalakshmi who we heard when every time she spoke on screen. Now, I have nothing against Bhagyalakshmi, but as Lalettan once said, who does’nt love change. KPAC Lalitha is the lucky charm of all Sathyan Anthikad films and Anoop Sathyan most probably doesn’t want to jinx it. Dulqer is his charming self and manages to make you emotional too. Kalyani Priyadarshan holds her own though there’s no real on screen chemistry with Dulqer considering they have been paired here, but you could blame that on the writing. But then that would be unfair in a film where you end up taking a liking to Major Ravi even. That’s not too bad for a debut writer-director if you ask me. On a personal note it was a nail biting finish for me as far as the climax was concerned because I hate films that leave you teary eyed when the lights come on. Anoop Sathyan did spare me there, just.